'It Is China That Has Changed:' Australia's New PM Wants To 'Send A Message To The World' As He Rushes To Meet Biden, Other Quad Leaders In Tokyo

Anthony Albanese, the new Australian Prime Minister who took office on Monday, warned that the country's relations with China would remain "difficult."

Albanese was sworn in as the PM, hours before he flew to Tokyo to take part in the Quad leaders' meeting — where he will hold bilateral talks with U.S. President Joe Biden, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

On Saturday, Albanese's Labor party defeated the coalition government led by Scott Morrison. To ensure Australia's participation in the Quad meeting, Albanese was quickly sworn in with four key cabinet members — including the new foreign minister, Penny Wong, who would accompany Albanese to Tokyo.

"The meetings that we will have, not just with the United States but importantly with our hosts in Japan and India, are going to be very important, in a good way, to send a message to the world that there's a new government in Australia," the 59-year-old Albanese told reporters, according to The Guardian.

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He further added that Australia's relations with China, which have soured in recent years, "will remain a difficult one" but said his government would take a less aggressive approach to maintain the country's national interest.

"It is China that has changed, not Australia, and Australia should always stand up for our values, and we will do so in a government that I lead," Albanese added.

Albanese delivered his first official press conference as PM on Monday in front of the Australian flag and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags.

Earlier in his victory speech on Saturday night, Albanese said he would seek a referendum to change the Australian constitution to enshrine an Indigenous voice in parliament.

Albanese will be the 31st Prime Minister of Australia and the first-ever with a non-Anglo surname to hold the office.

This is the first time Australian Labor Party has formed a government in about a decade. The party won 74 lower house seats, and the counting of the vote is still under process to determine if they can get the majority with 76 seats.

Photo: Courtesy of ALB via Wikimedia

Posted In: NewsPoliticsGlobalGeneralAnthony AlbaneseAustraliaChinageopoliticsIndiaJapanScott Morrison